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State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2012

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

This document presents summary information and key concerns for decision-makers on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) from the full report entitled State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals-2012. It is part of the ongoing collaboration between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to address concerns about the potential adverse effects of anthropogenic chemicals.

We live in a world in which man‐made chemicals have become a part of everyday life. Some of these chemical pollutants can affect the endocrine (hormonal) system and interfere with important developmental processes in humans and wildlife.

Following international recommendations in 1997 by the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety and the Environment Leaders of the Eight regarding the issue of EDCs, the International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS), a joint programme of WHO, UNEP and the International Labour Organization, developed in 2002 a report entitled Global Assessment of the State‐of‐the‐Science of Endocrine Disruptors ( Figure 1) (IPCS, 2002).

The general conclusions from this work were that

although it is clear that certain environmental chemicals can interfere with normal hormonal processes, there is weak evidence that human health has been adversely affected by exposure to endocrine-active chemicals. However, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that adverse endocrine‐mediated effects have occurred in some wildlife species. Laboratory studies support these conclusions.

The IPCS (2002) document further concluded that there was a need for broad, collaborative and international research initiatives and presented a list of research needs.
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